A part-time job as a teenager inspired Sean Burgess to pursue his dreams of finding an apprenticeship.
He moved to Geelong and was offered a job within days along with the opportunity to study Melbourne Polytechnic’s Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication Trade at Heidelberg.
“I was working at Design Stainless Industries on a one-month trial and a lot of the guys that had been with the company for 5 to 10 years had done their schooling at Melbourne Polytechnic Heidelberg. They said that was the place to go and I wanted to get the best experience I could.”
Sean Burgess enrolled in Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade after his new boss and workmates told him that Melbourne Polytechnic was the best place to study for his apprenticeship.
Sean knew that apprenticeships were scarce where he grew up in country Victoria, so he decided to move to Geelong and find a job. Fortunately, things fell into place very quickly.
“I came down on a Friday, while I was still working at my old job, had an interview with my boss and he said start whenever you want.”
Sean also received interest from other companies but they weren’t taking on apprentices at that time of year, but has found working at Design Stainless Industries to be the perfect fit for his skills and varied interests.
“It’s good because were not that big a company which means I’m needed to do lots of different things and because there’s plenty of tradespeople around I’m learning off each and every one of them.”
He found that the teachers at Melbourne Polytechnic were prepared to put in as much as the students, which made a huge difference to his learning and motivation in the course.
“I get along with my teachers really well and they’re always there to help me. If you just apply yourself, it’s not that difficult. The teachers are really friendly. You can ask them any question – it doesn’t matter how stupid it may seem.”
“If you’re willing to put in the effort, then the teachers are willing to give it back.”
There was one challenge that did emerge through his studies but with persistence and encouragement this was soon overcome.
“In second year, you do a lot of drawing using 3D and different perspectives. Learning how to get your head around that and draw it correctly was challenging. My teacher said it usually takes about 4-5 months to do it well.”
Sean is working towards getting his underwater welding certificate, a specialised area that also fulfils his love of the water and scuba diving. He imagines he might always be studying to become more qualified in a range of areas.
“I’ve already spoken to my boss and he would prefer to have me continue to going to school to do other specialised courses in the field, rather than sign me off early.”
Having a supportive boss has really allowed Sean to stay motivated and focused.
“The reason I go to school is to learn. That’s why I chose them. I travel there in my own time. I’m there to do a good job. Get it done. Be happy with it.”
He realised early on that he could work faster through the course by applying himself.
“If you can do an extra few hours over the week it really adds up and you can get through the coursework faster. I reckon Heidelberg is a brilliant campus. My boss has hired three new apprentices since I started and they’ll all probably come here for their studies.”
Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade